We are warned to be aware of radiation – but precisely what constitutes dangerous radiation?
Apparently, Alpha radiation is unlikely to reach the living cells inside the body so it’s not considered as dangerous as Beta and gamma radiation, which can penetrate the skin and cause damage to cells. But if the radioactive source is inside the body then it works the other way round – alpha is worse and beta isn’t. However no–one is planning on swallowing or coming into contact with radioactive material voluntarily.
We know about the microwave, cell phone and nuclear radiation – all examples of radiation but there are also the daily things we haven’t really considered – like the ultraviolet light from the sun which in excess can damage our skins and cause skin cancer. Or the ultraviolet light from a black light – excessive exposure has been reported to lead to sterility in men.
Higher electromagnetic frequencies can damage DNA according to the National Cancer institute fact sheet (https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/electromagnetic-fields-fact-sheet). These would include X-rays – hence the precautions when you visit the dentist or hospital. When DNA is damaged the cell can turn cancerous. Despite popular fears electric power lines and appliances, radio waves and microwaves have not been proven conclusively to damage the DNA of cells directly.
How does the electromagnetic radiation from your cell phone affect you?
We’ve been taught that we shouldn’t sleep with cell phones next to us or have them in our pockets for long periods of time but the actual studies have not shown consistent results and the researchers are careful to say that further investigation is needed. The radio-frequency energy from cell phones was shown in one study to have an effect on glucose metabolism in the brain and in another study it did not have an effect – so the jury is still out on whether cell phones cause cancer.
However, when it comes to health less is always better – so try to keep your exposure to radiation of all types at minimal levels. Limit yourself to only the really necessary appliances and try to escape into nature and leave the iPod, cell phone tablet and laptop behind. You’ll feel better for not being permanently connected – radiation or not.
Check out IFHNOS Auckland to learn more about the link between cancer and radiation.